unallersimple: (hectopus)
Recently I read that Micheal Palin (my travel hero) has been filming yet another travel documentary this year and has been visiting over 20 countries in Eastern Europe. This troubled me for I didn't even know there were that many countries in Eastern Europe so I certainly haven't been anywhere close to 20 of them. (Just 2) In my rather saddened state I wondered what the point of traveling was when Micheal Palin has been everywhere and is still being the best traveler ever well into his 60s. I later realised that it doesn't matter who goes where and does what, it's how you go about it, how it affects you and how late your livejournal updates are afterwards! With an odd sense of pride I present my last post about Denmark, many months after I went!

~ ~ ~

Towards the end of my happy week in Copenhagen I had pretty much run out of money. I chose to buy a digital camera the week before which was a bit too expensive really, but it's fun and I use it all the time so as Poppy (from Wales) would say, it's all gravy baby. I threw away my plans of visiting castles and philosopher's clifftop walks in other Danish towns and decided it would be much more fun to see just how much fun I could have without spending any money. The answer is lots I discovered as I walked all over the city, found many a free museum, practised my devil sticks and played around with photography using the above mentioned camera!

^A taste of the main streets in Copenhagen

^ Can you see the little number seven here? Traffic lights in Copenhagen tell you how long you have left to cross the road, how cool and useful is that?!

Rundetårn, Copenhagen
^From the inside of a building called The Round Tower. A building with no stairs to the top inside, the interior is comprised only of a huge, wide, stone sloped spiral all the way up. People have managed to make the journey to the top by car, bike, unicycle and on horseback in the past! At 35m high the observation deck offers great views of the city.

I was sad to go home at the end of the week but I was ready to go as well. It felt time to move on this time. I doubt I will go back as I have many places left to visit and an all consuming hunger to go elsewhere. I knew that as I was walking to the station, and as I watched the city shrink through the train windows as I made my way to the airport. I guess that's why I felt so...touched by the place.

It was an amazing week, it's just difficult to convey how traveling is, you know?



Nov. 5th, 2006 04:12 pm
unallersimple: (hectopus)
Continued from my last post...

...After many hours of trying to find a bed for the night I finally hit lucky and stumbled upon a place that listed B&B accomadation. A very kind lady behind the counter calmed me down, found me a suitable house to stay at and called ahead to secure their last room. (I still can't believe the tourist information office offered no help with accomodation for tourists!) I dread to think of the possible alternatives had I not stumbled upon the other place by accident. I don't know why it wasn't advertised at the tourist information office or on any of the city maps.

Just as it was getting dark I finally found the house that the lady had marked on the map for me. This final trip added another 30 minutes to the hours of walking around so I was even more exhausted by the time I got there. However I did find myself in a beautiful area of the city that looked like Amsterdam. Tall narrow houses overlooking the canals with roads lined with benches under leafy green trees. One of the things that often strikes me about traveling is the weird and beneficial way some problematic situations work out. In this instance if I had found a hotel or hostel to stay in I would have missed this area of Copenhagen completely. I fell asleep soon after being shown to my room at the B&B, but went for a lovely stroll by the water after waking up around 11pm. I was definately glad to have experienced that. :)

^ If I ever end up living in Copenhagen, I would make sure it's by one of these canals!

The next day I left my luggage in the train station as I had to wait until 2pm before I could check in at the hostel. I treated myself to a taxi to the Little Mermaid as I was still tired from the day before. I soon understood why it was labelled little rather than huge. It was a bit of an anti-climax to see it because it was quite small and boring and you can't get up close to it. It's funny what some cities become famous for. A stranger and I took photos for each other and I was soon on my way, walking back to the city centre via museums and side streets.

After the mermaid I went to a few churches and a musuem about the occupation of Denmark by the Nazis in World War 2. I then accidently walked into the Dannish Royal Palace grounds during the changing of the guard. (Easier to do than you might think! Unlike somewhere such as London the palace is next to the main road and there is no fencing seperating it from the public.) After this I went to a few art galleries and then back to the hostel to chill out.

Now let me tell you ALL Scandinavian hostels are cheap, spotlessly clean and have gorgeous kitchens and this one was no exception, nothing but a pure joy to stay in! I grabbed the top bunk opposite the window and fell asleep every night to some gorgeous views of the city from my 8th floor room. Our dorm had quite a lovely summer camp feel to it as we were all young girls staying for a few days and we came from different continents. Every night we would swap stories about what we did that day & advise the others on what to see in the city. We listened to each other for hours about our what our lives were like in our countries. It was wonderful. I heard all about the museums I didn't have time for and places I had never heard of before.

unallersimple: (hectopus)
On my first evening I set off for a wander round town and ended up walking past the main stage for the music festival. Arhus Music Festival is a well known event in Denmark and has been running for a good few decades now. I was pleasantly suprised to find myself in town at the same time as that. Stumbling upon it also had the advantage of making me feel a lot better about spending £200 on a new digital camera the week before, as I had soon whipped it out my bag and started to film like there was no tomorow. Sadly I have no idea of the names of the bands I saw as of course everthing was in Danish but the music was great and I had a brilliant evening.

The highlight of the evening was an hour long set from a full jazz band complete with conductor and guest singer. The songs and the instrumental solos were amazing to watch, as were the musicians struggling to keep playing everytime the wind blew away their sheets of music! What held my attention for the longest though were the four trombone and trumpet players on the back row, or should I say men who were clearly still kids at heart. Whenever they wern't playing they would pretend to mosh or pogo to the music (very funny considering it's jazz...) or they would all swing their instruments in the air from side to side. At one point the conductor walked round to tell them to calm down bless. I loved it though as it was a joy to see them getting so passionate about the music and having so much fun during the performance. It shows that this kid of music doesn't have to be so serious and full of frowns. I wish I could have recorded more, but the security staff were lurking nearby and I didn't want to risk having my beloved new purchase confiscated!

That night I snuggled up in my sleeping sheet, backpack at feet, glasses in shoe (well you gotta make sure they don't get squished) and was a happy chappy. Lizzie on the road once more, oh yeah!
I decided to get up early and get a train to Copenhagen the next day as I was eager to see the city and really didn't have much to stay in Arhus for. I had a wonderful train journey over there, especially when the train made the crossings in between islands. It felt a little like being on the movie Spirited Away, where you see no land around you and the rails are just placed on the water like magic. It was beautiful stuff.

The smiles from arriving in Copenhagen were soon gone when I got to the hostel and found that there were no beds free that night. None at all. None! I had a booking for the next three days, but I really didn't expect to be caught out on that one night, especially as the summer season was long gone. Telling myself not to worry just yet I trudged to a payphone and started calling (ahhh my research and phone number obsession paid off!) hostels and hotels to see if they had any beds. Nowhere did. It was getting late. I was getting scared. I'd never faced this kind of problem before.

So I took a deep breath and told myself not to panic. I'd been through various distressing situations while traveling before (like being rushed to hospital in an ambulance at 3am whilst on the Aaland Islands) so could cope with this one. Think, what would Micheal Palin do?! I started walking round all the streets in central Copenhagen to try and find a hotel bed. All of them were full. I walked around some more. Still no luck. Fuck. I didn't mind spending the night in the train station or something (at least it's free) but I was worried for my safety, especially as I'm a young girl traveling solo. I was exhausted from hours of walking, and as panic took hold I struggled to keep the tears in. I had no idea what to do.

unallersimple: (hectopus)
Only weeks after traveling round Australia with someone I'd never met before, I decided to go to Denmark because I found a 99p plane ticket (clearly a sign!). That price meant it was much cheaper to travel abroad than to travel between Norwich and the airport, so there was no way I could stop my hand moving the mouse over to the "buy now" button.

A 7.30am flight gave me the chance to try out traveling overnight and to see whether it would work for me. It was cool to save a night's accomadation and arrive somewhere new before nightfall, though it was a little weird before I set off for the airport that Sunday. I cleaned, spent hours online, consumed food, watched a movie, talked a lot with housemate Bev (even looking through her photo albums) and yet alarmingly, it still was not time to go! I then got very tired and frustrated by the time my taxi arrived to take me to the bus station. I had an interesting wait with 13 other passengers taking the same bus, 11 of which all had those annoying suitcases with wheels on the bottom. Ahhh they think they are so clever owning a case with wheels, but you can hear them being pulled along a mile off and it's a pain to be stuck behind them as they struggle with stairs, slopes, esculators and stepping on and off public transport!

After landing I approached customs with my sweetest smile and childish looks for the best chance of getting my passport stamped. (Sadly almost all EU countries refuse to do it these days). I asked so nicely too.
"Only the British ask for their passport to be stamped" I was told with a shake of the head, like asking for a mere trickle of ink was a sad and tragic thing. Something done only by those unable to let go and move on. I felt disapointed. He wasn't going to do it. I wondered why people from other countries didn't ask for a stamp, and why staff didn't realise how important getting your passport stamped is for those who love traveling. Why does the EU mean we can't get stamps from each country any more!? Stamps are fun! Full of memories. They make your passport look super cool and turn it into the equivilant of Brownie sash full of badges for travelers!

So I decided to look upset and say please...

...and it worked! I got my stamp!

I don't care what it takes to get one.

I wish more airport staff gave in to my begging and pleading.

After I left the airport in victory I took the Skybus to Arhus train station and took the long way to the hostel so I could wander down the main street. I felt so happy in that quaint little town, especially as I was welcomed with sunshine and a gorgeous cloud free sky.

Sadly my happy feelings only lasted for about 5 mins as I saw this and just felt really confused...

I can honestly say I've never seen an old lady sat on a chair attached to the side of a building before. You can see how high up she is from the street sign at the bottom of the photo. I asked around, but no one seemed to be able to explain why she was up there which made the whole thing even weirder. Surely people would know why this was happening!? I put it down to a piece of modern live art or something and ambled on, finding more and more of these ladies on chairs scattered around the town centre as I was walking.
Weirder still was that when I walked back through town after checking into the hostel (which wasn't much later), they had all gone which just confused me even more. How did they all get down so quickly?!
Maybe I was just really tired from traveling all night and using up a lot of energy getting cross with people using wheelie suitcases.

Later in my room I met a woman in her mid 40s who came from a town about 40 mins from Copenhagen. She seemed so thrilled to meet a young person traveling in her country bless her. She gave me lots of leaflets and told me about the music festival taking place. Like so many people who meet a young girl traveling alone she asked questions about home and why I was traveling because of course, I must miss my mum and mum must be so worried about me. Was I calling home enough? I wish people wouldn't ask that so often. Not every young person still has both parents. So hell yeah I miss her, I'm never gonna her again! So I sigh, politely gloss over the questions and change the topic. I can't wait to appear old enough for people to stop asking me that. It's not that I hate being reminded of her death, or that I don't want to talk about her. I just hate having to explain. The reactions are awful. Why doesn't anyone (me included) know what to say?

The hostel wasn't the best or the worst I'd stayed in, but it did win the Lizzie award for the best art filled view! Check it out below, I just loved looking out the window here.

That day I wondered around town, but found that all the thrills of Arhus were quickly experienced in a good two hours. There wasn't much else to see apart from the cathedral (the longest in Denmark!) so I sat around a lot and did a lot of thinking and writing. I love traveling solo for the space to reflect on things. The weather made the writing part rather amusing though, as it was so windy DVDs that were outside one shop front were flying along the pavement and by the canal cafe chairs and umbrellas were zooming away!

It was a great feeling to wander round Arhus though, it's a lovely little place and it felt fantastic to be in a new country again. One less to 101 to go! :)

^ A shot of the canal in Arhus

^ A random funny poster in town, look at the baby's face! No idea what Gylp means though...

More updates on Denmark to come!



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